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Health Minister Confirms Lassa fever Outbreak, 40 Dead



The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, has confirmed the outbreak of Lassa fever in 10 states of the country and the death of 40 Nigerians, from the disease.

The minister mafe the confirmatiob while briefing the nation on the outbreak; he said so far, the viral disease had found its way to Bauchi, Nasarawa, Niger, Taraba, Kano Rivers, Edo, Plateau, Gombe and Oyo states.

Adewole said the ministry of health was responding promptly to the outbreak, with adequate measures to curb the disease and reduce mortality.

“The total number so far reported is 86 cases and 40 deaths, with a mortality rate of 45 percent. Our laboratories have confirmed 22 cases so far indicative of a new round trip of Lassa fever outbreak,” Adewole said.

“In response to this outbreak, the federal ministry of health, under my leadership, has taken the following measures to contain further spread and reduce mortality among those affected.

“One: the mini-release of adequate quantities of ribavirin, the specific anti-viral drug for Lassa fever, to all the affected state for prompt and adequate treatment of cases.”

The minister called on Nigerians to avoid contact with those undergoing treatment, insisting that travel ban would not be needed in states currently affected.

“Family members and healthcare workers are advised to always be careful to avoid contact with blood and body fluids while caring for sick persons. No travel restrictions will be imposed from and to areas currently affected.

“Healthcare workers seeing a patient suspected to have Lassa Fever should immediately contact the epidemiologist in the state ministry of health or call the federal ministry of health using the following numbers: 08093810105,08163215251, 08031571667 and 08135050005.”

Lassa fever is an acute and often fatal viral disease, with fever, occurring chiefly in West Africa. It is usually acquired from infected rats, and contact with bodily fluid from infected individuals.